Bounty Hunters - Session 25

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Party Time

  • They get a room at the inn (where they take actual currency, which is low-key pretty weird) and chit chat with people more
    • Everyone loves The Tithe. One dude talks about how his favorite is the Crooked Joust.
    • He definitely dodges the question when we ask how we can find the previous years' Joust champions for tips.
    • Only Whip drinks the beer. It's fine.
  • The festivities start early the next day.
    • First up is Never Naughty
      • Compliment three elderly ladies. You either get whacked on the butt with a paddle, or you get given a reed switch to presumably do your own butt-whippin.
      • Townsfolk laugh uproariously with every thumbs-down and *WHACK*
      • Joana gives it a whirl, and her flowery words stupefy even the Bounty Hunters. She wins instantly.
    • Then Hungry Sister
      • Six people hold a rope, the contestant must push against them to reach into a bowl of pears on the table. Prize a dried pear skin!
      • Whip goes for it, but missteps and flops within the first second. He does not spill his drink.
      • Madrin gives it a go and tries to tip the scales with a bit of magic. The townsfolk are loath to put a "child" in danger, but she's adamant.
      • She puts up a good struggle! But her magic plan backfires, and it tips the bowl the wrong way.
      • Joana gives it a shot next. She also enlists the help of some magic, a Mage Hand to tug a bit on the rope, and she gets a pear!
        • "Whoa just like Streaky Frank! Streaky Joana!"
    • Next is Gossamer Glutton. Prize is a glass moth wing that's actually kinda cool.
      • Eat a jar of (live) moths as fast as you can.
      • Madrin has a lot of tips for eating moths that she gives Whip. She will not participate, however.
      • On the GO, Elian turns into a frog and schlups as fast as he can, but he misjudges the lid and comes in just after Joana's alter self shenanigans allow her to hoover up the moths in just a few seconds.
      • Whip, powering through on raw gustatory athleticism, puts up a good show against his magically infused competition. Nevertheless, his human limits betray him, and he falls just short.
        • He thinks they taste "fine, but would rather try them cooked next time"
    • (then a break for lunch. Whip's not hungry)
    • Lost Siblings up next. Prize is a sheaf of black wheat!
      • Identify other contestants by their hair.
      • Bern wins _easily_, identifying every person accurately in an instant. She's not even fooled by Joana's magical skulduggery.
    • Ends with Crooked Joust. Prize is a five legged sheep woodcarving
      • Everyone stands on stilts in chilly water and tries to knock over their opponent, tournament-style.
      • Madrin doesn't even manage to stand on the stilts.
      • Joana and Whip both win their first rounds, and face each other in the semifinals. It's a pretty close bout, but Joana manages to sweep the by-now-solidly inebriated Whip. A local fisherman manages to take down Joana in the finals, making this fan-favorite event the only one won by a local.
  • The crowd goes wild at Joana's performance. Winning three of five contests, she has handily scooped the grand prize: the Blessing of the Mother, symbolized by the wearing of the MEAT CLOAK
  • Partying continues far after dusk, Joana feted in the place of honor.
  • Finally, it's all capped off with a ceremony. They file in procession to a shorn field just outside city limits.
    • Alaric leads Joana to a prominent stone dais near its center. Everyone else watches from afar.
      • The Bounty Hunters edge up as close as possible.
    • Alaric says some prayers and then screams. Everyone seems to be expecting this, and is serene about it.
    • Hands appear from his empty eye socket and pull out a person who, impossibly, stands at full, normal height after she has finished climbing out. Alaric passes out on the ground.
    • The woman is a slight woman of very advanced age. She has white hair done up in a loose bun and wears a clean white apron.
    • She chats:

Mother: "Oh, my little caterpiller, did you win the games this year? I'm so proud of you." Mother: You must be a good little girl to have done so well: I see you have many tokens. Joana: I did my best! Mother picks up the bowl of food and goodies. Mother: I know you did! You should always try your best! Joana: I wanted to make you proud. Mother smiles at you. Her face radiates grace and maternal warmth. Mother raises her voice. Mother: My beautiful children! Thank you for these lovely offerings. I smile on you and will continue to give my blessings to you. Mother: Once again, this year's tithe has been a success! Laoirse, my darling, come and accept your gifts! Only the best for mother's little darling! Mother: As Mother says this, a beast rises from the fields. A hideous deformed abomination, it is the size of a bear, but hairless. Its head, however, is a rabbits but with the maw of some great carnivore. As Mother says this, a beast rises from the fields. A hideous deformed abomination, it is the size of a bear, but hairless. Its head, however, is a rabbits but with the maw of some great carnivore. It expel wisps of clouds as it breaths. It roars into the night! Mother.... is gone! Bern: MOTHERFUCKER Joana: no wait

BH25 Meeting Laoirse.JPG


  • A fight ensues!
    • Everyone who's not Joana rushes up. Whip and Bern pepper with arrows, Elian summons some TIGER BUDS.
    • The laoirse isn't able to close on the first round. TIGER BUDS team up with Joana.
    • Her hellish rebuke notifies the team that fire is particularly frightening to it, an advantage Madrin and Joana try to press.
    • On the laoirse 's next turn, though, its breath weapon clobbers a tiger and almost knocks Joana flat.
      • Alaric dies to this instantly. Alas, poor Alaric.
    • Whip closes to melee and the laoirse turns its attention to him. Its gaze is shrugged off but it still manages to wind him pretty good.
    • Not enough, though, because it falls on the next round, finished off by Madrin with a very solid fire-flavored lightning bolt.

BH25 Tiger Time.JPG

  • Bern fucks off to yell angrily in town. Her shouts fall on closed doors, the people within sleeping off the day's events.
  • They note that the thing appears rudely put together, bits and pieces of things grossly stitched together.
  • Madrin does some setup to get notified if anyone comes to poke the corpse.
  • Bern, back at the field, immediately notices an observer hiding in a tree. She calls him out, and new conversation ensues:

The individual waits for a moment, and then comes out from behind the trees. He is a middle aged man, with a lean look. He wears clothes, but they are tattered and frayed. He wears crude sandals made of twine and branches. He looks like he has been living in the wilds for some time. <man>: I'm Peter Parrish. Peter Parrish: Did ... did you really kill that Laoirse? Bern: Yes. Whip kicks at the body with a foot to make sure Madrin: Seems to be dead Madrin adds academically Peter Parrish: Oh... wow... Usually whoever wears the meat cloak gets drug off intot he woods and torn apart. Whip: We are _shocked_ and _surprised_ Peter Parrish: That's what happened to my brother, Paul. He won Mother's Favorite last Tithe. Elian: Should've sent a bigger rabbit... thing. Madrin: I'm sorry for your loss Peter Parrish: I know Mother watches over us and protects us, but I just couldn't forgive her that. Peter Parrish: Thank you.. I know I should be forgiving, after all, how many other tithes did I grow up watching? Peter Parrish: But, when it was MY family, it just hits different, you know? Whip: What's she protecting you from that's worth all that? Peter Parrish: But, no one would listen. My family and I had to flee town. Peter Parrish: I'm the last one left. Goblins got my kids. Wife just vanished in the middle of the night. Peter Parrish: I had almost given up hope, but I knew the Tithe was happening and I just couldn't help myself. Peter Parrish: When I saw what you guys did to that Lorinda. Wow! Peter Parrish: too late for my wife and kids, of course. Whip: Is this the same one that got your brother? Peter Parrish: No. That Laoirse is long dead. Peter Parrish: They never last long. Whip: Unsatisfying Whip: Not even vengeance Madrin: Have you ever see Mother outside of these rituals? Madrin: seen* Peter Parrish: For my brother, it was... Dozens of stitched together corpses. Peter Parrish: It was horrible. Peter Parrish: I have not. Mother's Minders are the only ones that see her, when she plucks out their eye. Peter Parrish: They say that the lands under Tepest are filled with hidden tunnels and caverns. Peter Parrish: One of the things Mother protects us from is the wild glamour of the fae beings--they fear her, and its said they have been driven underground. Peter Parrish: I was hoping to find them, but their ways are alien to me and I guess they didn't want to be found. Bern: I myself am remarkably good at finding things. Whip: So these fae are some sort of hope to you? What, just because they don't like her? Peter Parrish: I was hoping.. I don't know. Maybe they could bring my family back. Peter Parrish: Maybe they could give me the power to convince my people of their errors. Peter Parrish: Maybe just the power to wreak vengeance. I have heard that the faeries are willing to strike bargains with mortals. Peter Parrish: Maybe it was just something to give me hope and not let me just lie down and let the goblins get me. Bern: Mother's helper is dead. How is a new one chosen? Peter Parrish: There will be another Tithe in a few months. Peter Parrish: Every change of the season sees another Tithe. Peter Parrish: In exchange Mother blesses us with children and fertility. Peter Parrish: oop! there I go again. See, easy habit to fall back into Peter Parrish: Oh! Sorry. A new one will be chosen by the village. It's a great honor. Peter Parrish: Their eye will be plucked out. It is said that Mother herself sees through the empty socket Madrin: is there some sort of ritual for the choosing or the eye plucking? Bern: Also how quickly is a new Helper chosen? Peter Parrish: usually pretty soon. "kids get up to mischief without their minders" as she would say Elian: Who does the plucking? Peter Parrish: Mother does. It's apparently quite painful. Alaric screamed the whole time. Peter Parrish: The Gurgyl will appear nearby soon, it always does when it's time to pick a new Minder. Peter Parrish shudders. Peter Parrish: Its appearance is always an ill omen. Bern: You have GOT to explain proper nouns, Peter my boy. Peter Parrish: How do you mean? Elian: What's a Gurgyl? Peter Parrish: Oh! Of course, you're not from around here. Peter Parrish: It is a great shambling cottage made of thorns and vines and wicker and giants bones. Peter Parrish: A stone tower sits atop it, and it walks around balanced on the skeletal legs of some great saural creature. Whip: So she lives in the cottage? Bern: Is Mother Lorinda inside the Gurgyl? Peter Parrish: I know not what the Gurgyl is but that it serves her will Peter Parrish: and it always appears when a new Minder must be chosen. Peter Parrish: I've only seen it twice in my life. Peter Parrish: Once when Alaric was chosen, and once just before a bad accident befell twins. Elian: Who are the twins? Peter Parrish: a couple of kids that fell into the lake and drowned. Peter Parrish: The Gurgyl was seen passing nearby when they drowned. Whip: Abusive relationship Whip: Wait, you grew up here? Where are all the other teenagers? Peter Parrish: Hmm? Children are rare here, and Mother provides our fertility. [insight rolls ensue] (GM): The timelines are not making sense at all, but you don't think it's him being dishonest. The timelines are not making sense at all, but you don't think it's him being dishonest. Mother has clearlybeen the object of veneration in this town for many generations. However, he also speaks as if the Tithes have only been happening for the past Decade or so. Time here seems to be very "it happened recently" or "it happened al ong time ago," without any real resolution or specific chronology. [and arcana ones] It is also possible, you suppose, that some of these people have come from the Material plane and become trapped here? Peter Parrish: I have not been able to find them, but I know they must be there! They cause mischief. Peter Parrish: I know, perhaps, where you could find more but I have been too scared to go there. Madrin: What mischief? Peter Parrish: Oh, bad crops, missing babies Peter Parrish: normal fae shit Madrin: so, missing babies.. like stolen after they are born? Peter Parrish: They say there is a serene valley near Lake Lenore. Peter Parrish: In that valley is an inn that serves no customers. Peter Parrish: Attended by a skeletal innkeeper, named Bryonna so they say Whip: Sounds like an opportunity for an innkeeper Bern: Oh, the abandoned village? Whip: Oh, top's taken Bern: nevermind, didn't meet a Bryonna, I would hope I would have remembered that Madrin furiously scribbling notes Peter Parrish: Briggdarrow Peter Parrish: It has been abandoned for a while. Whip: Seems to be a pattern Peter Parrish: The Fae ravaged in it my grandfathers day. Peter Parrish: Cas Island is cursed and haunted. We all avoid the place. Whip: So do you wanna hang out in the woods until you get killed, or come with us and probably get killed, or what? Peter Parrish: I can come with you, less likely to die in a group. Whip: We could probably use a native for orienteering that's for sure Peter Parrish: I know my way around Tepest a little, I've lived here since I was a boy. I can probably lead you where you want to go. Nobody's Inn Elian: Does anyone know where mother goes between the tithe and when she next pops up? Peter Parrish: We do not. the Minders keep watch over us, so she can see us from wherever she stays. Peter Parrish: Some say she lives in heaven

  • Session ends as the party goes up into the woods for a long rest. They bring Alaric with them for posthumous questioning.